Our Catalogue of Plays

The mission of The New Jersey Play Lab is to develop production-ready plays through comprehensive hands-on dramaturgy.

Unlike the state of being “publication ready” in which a script has arrived at a fixed state and is no longer anticipated to change, plays that are “production-ready” have arrived at a state of clarity in which the playwright has a firm understanding of the play, its purpose and audience, its strengths, and its intended impact, and all remaining questions are best explored and addressed with actors on their feet in a full rehearsal process.

The NJPL does not seek any subsidy or hold any formal representation of any of these plays in exchange for our investment in these works. We can speak to the impact of the plays on audiences in our developmental readings, and to the playwright’s professionalism, craft, and talent, but all inquiries about the plays for potential workshop or production opportunities should be directed to the playwright. Contact information is provided below.

Production-Ready Plays

The following plays have been through our extensive Residency process. These plays have undergone numerous drafts and dramaturgical sessions with input from our team of dramaturgs, plus multiple readings with audience response, all guided by the playwright’s vision for the play.

We believe these plays are ready for their first production or an extensive workshop with actors.


Allies

Michael John McGoldrick
2020 NJPL Residency

ABOUT THE PLAY

So a Christian, a Liberal, and a Black guy walk into a corporate conference room….what seems like the premise of a joke ends up being much more when a company asks its employees to wear a rainbow-colored badge in support of LGBTQ+ rights. This seemingly innocuous gesture sets off a chain of events that eventually threatens to destroy the company. Allies is a biting, satirical look at the tangled intersection of religion, progressivism, and capitalism in today’s culture.

Full-Length. No intermission.
8 actors
3 Women: mid 40s White; 60s White; late 30s Arabic
5 Men: early 30s Black; early 30s Korean; mid 30s White; mid 50s White; mid 50s Cuban

LIFE AFTER THE LAB

Digital Reading; Questors Theatre, London, England, UK; 6/25/2020
Staged Reading: Up Theater, New York, NY; 10/2/2021

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Michael John McGoldrick’s play Wolf and Badger was produced by The Main Street Players in Miami, FL, in the summer of 2021. His play Allies was selected for residency at The New Jersey Play Lab in 2020. His full-length plays have been finalists in competitions sponsored by Trustus Theatre, Alleyway Theater and Playhouse on the Square. His short plays have received awards from City Theater, The Chameleon Theatre Circle, Acadia University’s MiniFest, InspraTO Theater, KCACTF and others. He has received staged readings from Questors’ Theatre (London), The Depot, Up Theater, New Jersey Repertory Company, Clamour Theatre Company, Jersey City Theater Center and others. He belongs to the American Renaissance Theater Company in Manhattan. He earned his MFA in Dramatic Writing from Arizona State University.

Contact: mikemcgold@hotmail.com


The Incels

Ruth Zamoyta
2020 NJPL Residency

ABOUT THE PLAY

From his lonely urban hovel, Tom records his vlog, immortalizing his fruitless encounters with women. From his hunter’s den in the hinterlands, Derrick streams his survivalist YouTube channel, losing followers as he bemoans his hopeless love life. Pat’s MGTOW (“Men Going Their Own Way”) Facebook show seems like the perfect answer for these “incels,” but the more involved they become in each other’s lives, the further they are driven to despair. Will they be able to truly connect before crossing the line into violence? The Incels asks us to look beyond the chat rooms and forums to the humanity that lurks within.

Full-Length. No intermission.
3 actors
3 Men: 19, 30 and 45

LIFE AFTER THE LAB

Live reading; Urban Stages, New York, NY; January 2020
Digital Reading; Urban Stages, New York NY;  September 2020

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Ruth Zamoyta’s first play, The Caregivers won a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship in 2018, was semi-finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF), and was given special consideration for the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award. Her next play, The Fencers, was a semi-finalist for BAPF and had readings at Art House Productions in Jersey City, and at the off-Broadway theatre Urban Stages. In 2018, Ruth was selected to participate in the INKubator program at Art House, where she wrote her first draft of The Incels. It was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2020.
Ruth’s 10-minute comedy “Eleanor Roosevelt’s Pudding” was part of the Heroes and Villains monologue project at Urban Stages which won a Telly Award in 2021. Her short plays “Phil Rizzuto Gives Parenting Advice,” “Baby’s First Madness,” and “Sorry Creature” were produced at theatres in NJ and NYC. Ruth holds master’s degrees from Columbia University and NYU, and a bachelor’s from St. John’s University. She is a member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights, the Dramatists Guild, The Cove, and Honor Roll! 

ruthzamoyta.com
Contact: ruthzamoyta@gmail.com


We Victorians

Matthew Cole Kelly
2019 NJPL Residency

ABOUT THE PLAY

A 21-year old assistant brings a sexual harassment suit against a respected white-glove attorney. A bedroom is transformed into an Intergalactic Court of Justice to try the Greek gods for acts of rape against mortals and to decide whether their monuments – the constellations – should be ripped from the heavens. Oh, and it’s raining cattle in Manhattan. Queer empowerment and old-school privilege collide in this radical interrogation of power in the Me Too Era, blurring distinctions between reality and myth, between the past and the present, and between victimization and liberation.

Full-Length, 2 Acts.
6 actors
3 Cis Women, 2 Cis Men, 1 Gender Non-Conforming Person

LIFE AFTER THE LAB

Digital Reading; Spooky Action Theater, Washington DC; 5/31/2020

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Matthew Cole Kelly is a queer New Jersey-based playwright, librettist, lyricist, and screenwriter whose work has been nominated for over a dozen awards. His plays and musicals have been developed by Abingdon Theatre, Luna Stage, Metropolitan Playhouse, the Theatre Lab, HRC Showcase Theatre, Talk Back Theatre, Loose Change Productions, Occupy Wall Street, the Makor Steinhardt Center, Turn Park Art Space, and Art Center Live. His play THE GODS OF THE OZARKS received a full production by Ireland’s AboutFACE Theatre while his opera AMI & TAMI is being translated into Italian for a production at the Teatro Coccia di Novara.

Matthew’s plays have been nominated as finalist or semifinalist for the Abingdon Theatre’s Christopher Brian Wolk Award, the Bloomington Playwright Project’s Woodward/Newman Drama Award, the College of Charleston’s Todd McNerney Playwriting Award, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s Award for Excellence in Playwriting, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, ScreenCraft’s Stage Play Contest, and the Shakespeare in the Berg Award. 

Matthew studied playwriting at Brown University under the tutelage of Paula Vogel before earning a PhD in Sociomedical Sciences and History from Columbia University. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild and the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Librettist Workshop.

Contact: mdk2121@gmail.com


The following plays have been through an extensive script consultancy with one of our dramaturgs. These plays have undergone numerous drafts and dramaturgical sessions, and have had at least one reading with audience response, all guided by the playwright’s vision for the play.

We believe these plays are ready for their first production or an extensive workshop with actors.


Belles Rebelle

Elaine Insinnia

ABOUT THE PLAY

In 1895, May and Lydia marry in NY as man and wife. When Lydia votes illegally, her identity is discovered and she is arrested.  Despite being furious at Lydia for her carelessness and her infidelity to boot, rather than have her face trial, May allows Lydia to escape with her to her cousin’s cabin in rural Kansas. Will life on the prairie set the scene for these two fish out of water to reconcile? Will Lydia find the courage to return to NYC and face her fate? 

Full-Length, 2 Acts.
6 actors
3 Women: two late 20s-early 30s, one 70s
3 Men (2 roles double): one early 30s, one late 30s, one 50s

LIFE AFTER THE LAB
Reading; ASOTO (A Stage of Their Own) playwriting group Montclair, NJ

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Elaine Insinnia’s plays include Always Split Aces and Eights, national winner of the One-Act Play Contest at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, 2019; Belles Rebelle, finalist, Leah Ryan Playwriting Contest; Exiled, commissioned by the Abingdon Theatre, NYC; Cut Strings finalist in the short play contest, Abingdon Theatre; Vincie, Nora’s Playhouse; Leap of Faith, Luna Stage short play festival; Better Off Dead, ASOTO staged reading. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ASOTO, a group dedicated to developing women’s plays, and is forever grateful to PlayGym, the Play Lab, and especially to Cheryl Katz, whose guidance was invaluable in the development of Belles Rebelle.

Contact: einsinnia@optonline.net


The following plays were written by our board members and longtime collaborator, Nikkole Salter. Nikkole engaged the services of The NJPL to tighten and hone her work prior to publication. All of these plays have received productions. Carvnaval and Lines in the Dust have the most extensive production histories and are publication ready. Repairing a Nation and Torn Asunder are production ready, and thus an additional production, or extensive workshop situation, would allow the writer the opportunity to further develop the work.

We believe Ms. Salter is a unique and resonant voice in the American Theatre.
We are proud to collaborate with her and believe her work is worthy of investment.


Carnaval

It was 1995 in Brooklyn when two young men experienced the untimely loss of their best friend.  In his honor they decided then and there that, despite their differences, no matter where life took them, they would take care of his younger brother, and get together on the anniversary of his death to celebrate the life he should have had. So, on a cold day in the winter of 1996, these three 20-somethings board a plane for Rio De Janeiro for a taste of the good life: sun, fun, and, of course, women – what better way to pay homage to a fallen friend?  But what starts out as a joyride takes an unexpected turn and the three sex tourists find themselves in a situation that will change their friendships and their lives forever.


Full Length, Two Act.
(Mature & Explicit  Language & Content)
3 Men

Production History
Luna Stage (World Premiere) – 2013
National Black Theatre (NYC Premiere) – 2014


Lines In the Dust

2010, Essex County, NJ.  When Denitra loses the charter school lottery for her daughter, she must find another way to escape from their underperforming neighborhood school. The answer seems like a risk well worth taking, but may end up requiring a bigger sacrifice than she ever could have imagined. Set over a half century after Brown Versus The Board of Education, LINES IN THE DUST questions how far we’ve come and more importantly, where we go from here.


Full Length, Two Act.
2 Women, 1 Man

Production History
Luna Stage (Commission and World Premiere) – 2014
ETA Creative Arts – 2016
Cleveland Public Theatre – 2016
St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre Company – 2017
Tennessee Women’s Theater Project – 2017
Black Theatre Troupe – 2018
Women’s Theatre Festival – 2019
Jersey City Theatre Center – 2019
New Normal Rep – 2021


Repairing a Nation

2001.  The Davis family meets for what should be a fun holiday season in their native Tulsa,OK.  But when Lois insists the family join a class-action law suit for reparations, old family wounds are ripped open and we discover that the government isn’t the only one being asked to apologize.  80 years after the Tulsa Race Riots, REPAIRING A NATION explores the complexity of inherited
wounds, the nature of apology and the possibility of reconciliation.


Full Length, Two Act.
3 Women, 2 Men

Production History
Crossroads Theatre Company (World Premiere) – 2015
ETA Creative Arts – 2015
Karamu House – 2017


Torn Asunder

Prince George’s County, MD, 1859. Hannah, a relatively contented enslaved woman, has her world rocked when her master dies and she, for the first time, is separated from her family, new husband, and baby. But, just as she begins to lose all hope to ever see her husband and
child again, the seceded south falls to the Union, slavery is abolished with the 13th Amendment, and Hannah has the opportunity to put her family back together…if she can find them.


Full Length, Two Act.
4 Men, 2 Women

Production History
St. Louis Black Repertory Company
(World Premiere) – 2018


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

As a dramatist, Ms. Salter has written 8 full-length plays, been commissioned for full-length work by 6 institutions, been produced on 3 continents in 5 countries, and been published in 12 international publications.  Her work has appeared in over 20 Off-Broadway, regional and international theatres, and the Crossroads Theatre production of her play REPAIRING A NATION (directed by Marshall Jones, III) was regionally aired during the second season of the WNET program “Theatre Close-Up”on NYC’s channel THIRTEEN, WLIC, NJTV.  The National Black Theatre production of her play CARNAVAL was nominated for 7 AUDELCO awards including Best Playwright and Best Production and won for Best Ensemble Performance.  Ms. Salter is a 2014 MAP Fund Grant recipient, a Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist, USA Fellowship nominee, a two time Playwright’s of New York (PoNY) Fellowship nominee, is currently working on commissions from Woolly Mammoth, the National New Play Network/Cleveland Public Theatre, a musical with Neworks Productions, and is in development to write the television adaptation of Claude Brown’s New York Times Bestselling novel, Manchild in the Promised Land.

Ms. Salter is an active member of the Actors Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Actors Center; and sits on the board of the Theatre Communications Group and on the Council of the Dramatists Guild.  She received her BFA in theatre from Howard University under the instruction of Al Freeman, Jr. and Sybil Roberts; and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program under the tutelage of Zelda Fichandler and Ron Van Lieu.

https://www.nikkolesalter.com
Contact: nikkole@nikkolesalter.com

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